By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – The District of Columbia, also known as Washington, D.C., has officially become a “shall issue” jurisdiction. The outcome was certain when the government of the District decided not to appeal the decision in Wrenn v. D.C and Grace v. D.C. (the cases were combined) after the United States Court of Appeals refused to grant a review of the decision en banc. From dc.gov.com:
Q: Since you aren’t asking the Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit decision, when does their ruling removing the District’s “good reason” requirement take effect?
A: It will take effect when the D.C. Circuit issues what the courts call a “mandate” that effectuates its decision. That should happen at some point in the next few days.
The mandate was issued without fanfare on October 6th, 2017. People have quietly been applying for permits. The District of Columbia has made some accommodations for people who were previously turned down under the “may issue” law. At the Crime Prevention Research Center, founded by John Lott, the following map of D.C.'s “gun free” zones was produced. It is a “worst case” based on plausible interpretation of D.C.s murky law.
Those “gun free” zones would make the exercise of the Second Amendment in D.C. a virtual impossibility. Later, the CPRC published a map on a somewhat less pessimistic interpretation. It would still be virtually impossible to travel in the District, legally bearing arms, without violating the law.
The Washington Free Beacon investigated John Lott's interpretation of the law with the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The MPD replied that the ban on guns in most of the gun free zones was only a penalty enhancement, not a ban on people who had permits to carry. From the freebeacon.com:
However, after further questions from other outlets including the Washington Times, MPD issued a statement disputing Lott's interpretation. Instead, they said, the provision only applies to those who are carrying illegally in those areas. It does not apply to those who are legally carrying with a valid permit.
“The provision of D.C. Code that you’re referencing about Gun Free Zones is a penalty enhancement—not a unique crime—for someone who is illegally carrying a firearm,” Rachel Schaerr Reid, MPD public affairs specialist, told the Free Beacon. “That would not apply to someone with a valid license to carry. The areas of the city where a civilian with a license to carry cannot carry are listed in D.C. Code § 7—2509.07.”
The Free Beacon reached out to the attorney general to confirm that they agree with the MPD's interpretation but has not yet received a reply.
The people who have gone through the multitudinous hoops to obtain a permit to exercise their Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia are still uncertain where they can bear arms and not be in legal jeopardy.
Eventually, the Attorney General may issue an opinion. Or not. District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine is openly hostile to exercise of the Second Amendment in D.C.
The Second Amendment Foundation is waiting in the wings, ready to file another lawsuit, if the D.C. government continues to make exercise of Second Amendment right in the District a practical impossibility.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.